Junior Research Scientist in soil science - Functional role of physical properties of forest soils


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The research carried out by the Biogeochemistry of Forest Ecosystems (BEF) unit is centered on forest soils: it aims to improve knowledge on biogeochemical cycles and the functioning or even dysfunction of forest ecosystems in a context of global changes, in order to provide recommendations for sustainable management of these environments.

The physical properties of forest soils play a central role in the control of processes operating in soils, in biogeochemical cycles, and more generally in the functions provided by soils (storage and transfer of fluids and elements, storage of C, biomass production…). The risk of physical degradation of forest soils has never been so high (increasing mechanization, increased exploitation, etc.), but the state of the physical properties of forest soils and their evolution remain very little studied to date.

Your research will focus in particular on characterizing the physical properties of forest soils, identifying the factors that control them, and understanding the role of physical properties in the functions provided by soils. You will work from the scale of the soil aggregate to that of the soil profile. You will also be interested in the evolution of these physical properties under constraints: for example, this will involve studying the effect of silvicultural disturbances (compaction, residual shrinkage, cutting, etc.) and climatic disturbances on the physical properties of soils, the functions associated and you will be interested in their natural or assisted restoration. From an operational point of view, this research will make it possible to better understand and predict the evolution of the physical properties of soils and to propose recommendations for sustainable management of soils and their functions.

Your work will contribute to improving the understanding of biogeochemical cycles as a whole and to strengthening the lab's capacity to carry out multi-criteria research focused on forest soils. To do this, you will ensure that you integrate different functional scales and combine physical, chemical and biological approaches to the quality of forest soils.

You will have to consider methodological developments at the different scales previously mentioned. For this, you will have access to numerous laboratory equipment dedicated to the analysis and characterization of soils, present in the unit, on the INRAE Champenoux site and at the University of Lorraine. You will also have access to highly instrumented in situ devices, some of which benefit from manipulated methods (soil compaction, harvest residu manipulation, etc.). You will be able to rely on the skills and know-how of your future colleagues . Your research will allow you to easily integrate into the INRAE scientific community mobilized on soils but also into the European and international research communities already mobilized by the unit.

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Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD, or equivalent.
The candidate must have had solid training in soil sciences and more particularly in soil physics. A doctoral or postdoctoral specialty in soil physics is desired. Experience in forest ecosystems would be a plus.
Proficiency in English is required as well as long-term international experience: successful candidates who have not yet had any will be required to spend time abroad at the end of the internship year.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-ECODIV-1
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 23
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